A Civic Reception for Hunslet RLFC groups

On Thursday 22 June 2023, we had the honour of meeting the new Lord Mayor, Councillor Al Garthwaite, and the Lady Mayoress, Alderwoman Angela Gabriel, in the Banqueting Suite at Leeds Civic Hall.

The occasion was ‘Celebrating Small Groups and Charities in Leeds.’  Both ladies live in Cross Flatts, Beeston so I’m sure many of you have met them before, especially Angela, who always runs, and cooks the jam, for a homemade jam stall at Beeston Festival, raising funds for local charities.

For all their slaving over a hot grill, I had nominated Hunslet Ex-Parkside Players Breakfast Club and I tagged along to represent the Hunslet RLFC Archive Group. If you’ve not been to the Breakfast Club yet, well, you don’t know what you’re missing.  Jack Richardson and Lewis Cardiss are the usual chefs on Friday mornings cooking up bacon and sausage sandwiches. A lot of past players come along, as well as fans, wives, dogs, and all are welcome. At £2.50 for a sandwich and unlimited tea or coffee, it’s a bargain, but the main idea is to reduce isolation and get old teammates back for a good old chinwag.  There are a few players who sadly have dementia now, but when they are brought along by their mates, they join in with the banter about teams, opponents, best matches and so on. Peter Jarvis, as one of the instigators of the club, is usually there, telling a good tale.

As our historical statistics men, Steve Calline and Martin Stewart, couldn’t make it, I stood in, taking Keith Rowson along as a fund of Hunslet RLFC knowledge and a chewer of the sandwich as well as the fat. I just sort out the archive of old programmes and write out the Heritage Certificates for past players. If you or an ancestor played in Hunslet’s First team, then there will be a Heritage Number – starting in 1883 when the club was formed. Please get in touch if you have not received your Heritage Certificate yet.

At the event, there were nearly 50 local groups represented, with Ian Pickles there to represent South Leeds Lakers Running Club, as well as a group from the Hunslet Litter Pickers, so we grabbed a row of seats between us. After a welcome cuppa, we heard a few words from the Lord Mayor and each group received a certificate. Finally, before another cuppa, this time with biscuits, each group had its photo taken with the dignitaries and we each were given a pin badge of an owl with the ladies’ initials, AG, and 2023.

I was told that the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress couldn’t just turn up on a visit to a group, they have to be invited, so we are hoping to get them down to a match. If their calendars are full for Sundays, I think we could invite them down for a cuppa, a sausage sandwich, and a chin wag at the Breakfast Club. After all, Cross Flatts is a short walk away if the Mayoral Limo is busy. It’s all about getting Hunslet RLFC back on the map of south Leeds.


This post was written by Pat Benatmane

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